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Giving Back

Posted on January 12th, 2021 by Dr. David J. Griffin

In these pandemic times, people are struggling in unfortunate and unforeseeable ways. This holiday season is a great time to donate, even a few extra dollars that you may have, to help people get a warm place to sleep and hot food to eat. Here are some of our favorite local organizations that you may want to consider donating too:

Hunger Task Force

Despite being one of the wealthiest nations on this planet, 11.8% of American households struggle to get enough food. In Wisconsin, 1 in 11 households experience difficulty getting enough food. Focusing on Milwaukee, our state’s poorest urban area, 27% of people live below the poverty line. This disproportionately affects children with 40% of children living below the poverty line.

Hunger Task Force works to solve the food shortage people that many people in Wisconsin, specifically Milwaukee, face in several different ways. Hunger Task Force was started as a food bank in 1974 in the city of Milwaukee for the purpose of starting a school breakfast program for Milwaukee Public Schools. Today, Hunger Task Force provides a ‘safety net’ of emergency food for a large network of local food pantries and meal programs. It remains the only food bank in the city of Milwaukee that does not charge for food, membership or food delivery.

The Hunger Task Force also runs the Hunger Task Force Farm to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to people who typically rely on canned or nonperishable food items. The farm is 208 acres and located in Franklin, Wisconsin and is able to produce over 9 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables annually.

Feeding America – Second Harvest

Feeding America is another organization that works to provide food to people in need. In addition to supplying meals to those in need, Feeding America uses its resources to help address the root causes of hunger.

Feeding America focuses on four primary pillars to help achieve its goal. First, they focus on food rescue. It’s estimated that anywhere between 25% and 40% of food grown, processed and transported in the United States will never end up being consumed and so Feeding America works with food manufacturers and distributors to collect food before it goes to waste. Second, Feeding America focuses on providing foods that nourish. Providing families with a variety of healthy foods that satisfy nutritional intake recommendations is a big part of their mission. Third, Feeding America focuses on food safety. This means focusing on logistics behind storing and transporting perishable foods as well as nonperishable foods. Finally, Feeding America focuses on food security. This means raising awareness of the world hunger issue and contributing to research that will solve these worldwide issues.

Smile Train

Smile Train is the world’s largest, global, non-governmental cleft-focused organization. Since the organization began, Smile Train has worked with hospitals to support more cleft-related surgeries than every other global charity combined. A large portion of their work goes towards supporting local medical professionals so that they have the knowledge and skillset to offer surgical and other cleft care to children in their surrounding communities. Cleft care goes beyond cosmetically fixing the cleft. It could require dental and orthodontic care and speech therapy. Smile Train has proven wildly successful in their mission and since 1999, they have sponsored over 1.5 million cleft surgeries. A child receives cleft treatment sponsored by Smile Train every 5 minutes.

Smile Train provides resources, training and funding for cleft treatment to over 90 countries around the world. It is a great organization to donate to whose scope is larger than our local area. With a smile being the first thing you notice about someone; these smiles really do change lives.


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